INDIANAPOLIS (WNDU) - It was a milestone moment for the MAXSTRONG School Bus Safety Act when Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill into law Wednesday.
Named for three siblings who died at their bus stop in Fulton County, the new law will enhance school bus safety for Hoosier children.
“We need more awareness every day on this very topic. This is progress. This is baby steps here. But this is going to save our babies when they're going to and from school,” Holcomb said as he prepared to sign the bill. “So, thank you for devoting so much attention to a topic that not only deserves it, it demands it.”
Shortly after the October crash that killed 9-year-old Alivia Stahl and her 6-year-old twin brothers, Mason and Xzavier Ingle, their parents met with Indiana Sen. Randy Head, determined to make changes to Indiana laws.
“This family personified that. They overcame their grief and they shared it and talked about it with rooms full of strangers,” said Head, the bill's author. “I'm not sure how they did it. My hat’s off to them.”
“It's a great feeling,” said Shane Ingle, father of the twin boys who died. “I mean, me and my wife sat down with Sen. Head and we had an idea. And the idea turned into a bigger idea, and along the way we added a little more.”
“The further and further we got and the ‘yes’ votes, it gave us more of a reason to get out of bed and say, ‘You know what? We can do this, and we will do this, and now we are doing this,'” said Brittany Ingle, the mother of the three victims.
Interviewed on camera for the first time, 12-year-old Selena Stahl remembered her siblings.
“I know they're happy and I know they're looking down saying, ‘We got it! We did it! We're changing!’ And I’m glad we're going to be saving people's lives,” Selena said.
“We all wish we didn't have to endure the tragedy, that we saw in order to bring this to people's attention,” Head said. “But it's an important bill, it's an important law, and I hope it increases the awareness of everyone as they are driving.”
The children were killed while crossing a highway to get to their bus. The new law calls for curbside pickups and drop-offs on Indiana highways so children will not be crossing those high-speed roads.
With this law, Indiana becomes the 19th state in the nation to enact stop arm camera laws, an important move to catch drivers who pass school buses illegally.
For other Never Again stories from Tricia Sloma or to see the details in the law, see these previous stories: